Q&A: Talking about the ‘race’ for a coronavirus vaccine could reduce public confidence

People’s willingness to have a vaccine changes depending on how at risk they feel, says anthropologist Heidi Larson. Image credit - RF._.studio/Pexels, licensed under the Pexels licence

Efforts to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 with a vaccine could be hampered by low levels of confidence in immunisation programs in some European countries, warns Professor Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project and an anthropologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, in the UK. Surveys conducted by the project during the … Read more

Lack of solidarity hampered Europe’s coronavirus response, research finds

Competition between European countries for equipment, test kits and medicines needed to tackle Covid-19 may have hampered the region’s ability to respond to the pandemic. Greater sharing of resources, hospital capacity and even healthcare staff are needed to cope with pandemics in the future, according to researchers examining the public health response to coronavirus across … Read more

Q&A: Why clouds are still ‘one of the biggest uncertainties’ in climate change

Clouds are important from a climate point of view for how they reflect and absorb sunlight, according to Professor Pier Siebesma, an atmospheric physicist. Image credit - Pier Siebesma

They might be beautiful at times, but clouds are still one of the biggest sources of uncertainty in understanding how the climate will change due to global warming, explains Professor Pier Siebesma, an atmospheric physicist at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. Enormous field studies of clouds and high-resolution computer simulations are … Read more

Transparent electronic books and human-looking robots: the new field of ‘organic electronics’

Organic electronics are flexible and already being used to make curved screens but future applications could include biosensors and bendable solar panels. Image credit - Maurizio Pesce/Wikimedia, licenced under CC BY 2.0

Electronics made from carbon rather than silicon could lead to a new generation of medical devices, sensors and perhaps even robots, according to Professor Andreas Hirsch, chair of organic chemistry at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany. Materials such as graphene could soon be appearing in electronic devices and could lead to entirely new forms of ‘chemical’ … Read more

Coronavirus accelerates drive to share health data across borders

Data-sharing can help with the next health crisis but that means privacy and technical issues need to now be addressed, say experts. Image credit - Samuel Gabreil/Pixabay, licensed under the Pixabay licence

Allowing health data to flow more freely between countries in Europe could aid the fight against coronavirus while also help the region be better prepared for future pandemics, but privacy and technical considerations need to be tackled sooner rather than later, say experts. In the midst of a global pandemic, sharing information might seem like … Read more

Can the world emerge from the pandemic a better place?

The pandemic has caused disruption around the world, but it could also be an opportunity to make some much needed social and environmental changes as countries try to adapt and recover from the crisis. In the space of just a few months the world has seen drastic change. People who commuted to work and had … Read more